Category Archives: Bedford Girls’ School

Featured on Imaginify!

My dear friend from university, Sarah Francis, has set up her own organisation – Imaginify.

  • Imaginify celebrates women who have a passion for technology and digital
  • Imaginify empowers women and girls to pursue careers in digital and technology.
  • Imaginify builds technology that helps women and girls reach their potential

As part of a showcase of women in STEM, Sarah asked me to do a little email interview:

Read the full Imaginify interview here.

GCSE Chemistry: Salts Book Published with Rosemary Houghton

Rosemary is a pioneer in the Chemistry department at BGS. She was the first member of staff to help me engage students in creating content for our multi-touch books (as opposed to just Book Creator). For this book on salts, she shot her own videos of experiments for inclusion, created self-marking tests with Book Widgets. I tied it all together ready for some edits and eventual publication.

Available for FREE here on iTunes Bookstore

Apple Distinguished Educator 2017! #ADE2017

I’m in!

I let out an excited squeal when the email arrived from California. I’d just got home from school where I’d been working solidly in the Easter holiday peace when it arrived (us Digital Design Creators still toil while corridors fall quiet).

With only 9 months of work behind me when I made my 2 minute pitch video, I thought I was an outsider.

Still not come down from the ceiling – what a Monday!!

CyberFirst Girls Competition & Cracking Codes

It was an honour to support two teams of Year 8 students to take part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition run by the National Cyber Security Centre. The girls were at the very youngest end of the age range and figured out everything from how to geolocate a photo, read Base64 messages, sniff packets and a whole lot more.

Following on from a week of intensive code cracking through lunchtimes, we had a go at some Python to investigate Caesar’s Cipher. We sent messages to each other and then changed the code to brute force attack the code – making our programs print out every possible outcome so we could spot the decrypted message.

#HarpurTeachMeet

I had the pleasure of taking part in the second Harpur Teach Meet today. Our Teach Meets are open to staff within the Trust, and it’s good to meet people from our sibling schools. This time it was our turn to host.

This was my first ever Teach Meet, and the format was strictly 3 minute presentations! Both a long or a short time depending on what you chose to talk about.

There were some fantastic talks from how to engage students to explore their literature study, to feedback reflection, nature photography, spaced learning and a live demo of Kahoot!

I chose to speak about multi-touch books and their use in creating flexible learning materials.

My plan was to create my presentation as a book and use Air Server to present, but even technologically adept schools such as BGS occasionally have their hiccups. I used Quicktime instead to record my iPad screen as I interacted with the book, capturing the iPad’s speaking and other interactive items. This meant my presentation was bang on 3 minutes, but I had to try and match my words to my previously recorded interactions! In retrospect it probably needed more rehearsal, so in my growth mindset – not there yet.

Google Expeditions

Following James’ visit to BETT 2017, he managed to arrange a visit to school from Google Expeditions. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Expeditions, its a free VR app available on Android and iOS which is designed to work with Google Cardboard. Google Cardboard is a low-end VR device, made of cardboard which works with a smartphone.

Together we took over two Junior School classrooms for the day, armed with about sixty Asus devices and Cardboards, a couple of Android tablets, two routers and an army of charger cables.

In half hour or so sessions, we took the whole Junior School (Years 3 to 6) and some volunteer sixth formers through immersive 360 degree images of the International Space Station, volcanoes of the world, Barcelona, Egypt, Beijing, the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica and rainforests.

It was amazing to hear their reactions, bowled over by how immersive they found it. They reached out instinctively to touch penguins only to find their adjacent classmates, gasped at how high they were in space over the Great Barrier Reef.

Each individual Google Cardboard and Asus device allowed the student wearing it to look in any direction they chose, while we ‘drove’ the experience from the tablet. We were able to access more information about each scene, point items out (the students saw arrows guiding them to the targets) and stop and start the experience for everyone. We could see where they were looking at any point with a swarm of smilie face icons.

The girls didn’t want to stop exploring, and it was hard to prise their teachers away from the same to come and try controlling the expedition!

As snow fell outside the classroom window,  it didn’t quite compare to the Antarctic Expedition scenes inside. Proof it was a truly unusual day for all.

A-Level Psychology Research Methods Published

Paula put some epic work into her A-Level Psychology book on Research Methods. She drafted the full text in Google Docs, including outlines for the interactive elements, links to videos and recommended texts.

The book was published internally at BGS in late summer 2016, ready for her to teach the A-Level course, but we hadn’t got round to amending certain pages which related to particular models or questions from the course text. We always publish original work on the iBooks Store.

Paula’s book received a lot of interest and requests for public publication so it’s good to get it out there at last. It’s definitely the most detailed book published at BGS so far, and it was an honour to work on the layout. I look forward to working more on the book as she refines it through teaching it.

Download A-Level Psychology Research Methods for free

How the iPad Camera can be All You Need

I’ve published a second blog post to the BGS Innovation and Technology blog this week. It covers a recent visit to Year 8 English. With all the apps and clever stuff teachers do at BGS it’s easy to believe that just using the camera is ‘basic’. It’s an incredibly effective tool to record speaking and presentation, a key skill in English.

Visit Year 8 English with me on the BGS blog

Sharing our Apple Story

It’s been a fantastic couple of days at Bedford Girls’ School. As an Apple Distinguished School we were proud to host over 100 educators from Finland, Poland, Denmark and Greenland. The delegates had come over to the UK to visit BETT 2017, and also visit other schools who use Apple technology to improve teaching and learning.

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As part of the visit we gave some short presentations on our iPad story, as well as how we use iTunes U and iBooks to support learning. I was nervous but excited to explain my part of the strategy as Digital Design Creator.

The highlight of each of the visits was the opportunity to take a group on a learning walk, which is a tour of classrooms. The timetable for lessons remained unchanged and the visitors were joining ordinary lessons across a range of year groups and subjects.

Jo MacKenzie, our Head, also wrote about the visits. The girls were really excited to share what they got up to, and how iPads changed their education.

Not only did we all learn a lot about how other schools approach technology and learning, but we swapped ideas and discovered how anything from the school day structure to how marking and feedback is handled differs.

New School Blog on Innovation and Technology

As part of my role as Digital Design Creator at Bedford Girls’ School, I’ve taken on the challenge of writing a blog about innovation and technology.

So much of what goes on is considered ‘ordinary’ by the students and staff because the school has progressed so far with technology in five years. However, understanding how the classroom has changed with a 1:1 iPad environment is a really common question from parents and teachers unfamiliar with how we work. By visiting lessons and blogging about them, I hope to give an insight.

The first post features our Maths Department.